Westminster was all abuzz for the great fly roundup of 1914
The Carroll Eagle Archives column for Sunday, June 28, 2009 by Kevin Dayhoff
On Tuesday, June 16, President Barack Obama was interrupted by a pesky, deranged, and suicidal housefly during an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood.
The ensuing drama was captured on video in a life and death struggle befitting a History Channel segment pertaining to World War II. Moreover, it has since unfolded hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube.
One published account referred to the president as the “Obamazilla.” A Politico writer regaled that the “president has been getting lots of kudos for a lightning-fast, Mr. Miyagi-worthy swipe he employed to slay a pesky house fly that was buzzing him… ‘He stopped the interview to track and kill the fly,’ said talk show host Conan O’Brien.”
Politico wrote a play-by-play description of the president’s performance: “‘Get out of here,’ Obama said as the fly buzzed him during his interview. The pest persisted, and when it landed on his left forearm, Obama smacked it.
“‘Now, where were we?’ the president said without missing a beat. Pleased with himself, he added, ‘That was pretty impressive, wasn't it? I got the sucker.’
“Several observers in the room gave congratulatory shout-outs. Obama pointed to the floor and instructed an obliging cameraman to get a close-up of the corpse.”
“‘It’s like he’s got one of those fly Terminator targeting systems in his eyes,’ said an awed Jon Stewart.”
One published account reported: “He's a Harvard educated lawyer, leader of the free world and has the reflexes of a highly trained ninja. America's enemies, beware.”
Another noted: “Obama dispels claims that he is "soft," showing no mercy to a fly. World be warned!”
Many were impressed. That is, with the exception of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – PETA.
PETA was less than amused. Politico reports that PETA called it an “execution,” and wants the commander-in-chief to show a little more compassion to even “the least sympathetic animals.”
Well, if PETA was alarmed over the president killing one fly, one can only wonder what that august organization would have thought of the 1914 “Swat the Fly” campaign in Westminster.
According to “Carroll County Maryland, A History 1837-1976,” by Nancy Warner, it all began with Westminster’s “first Civic League, organized in January 1913 with Mrs. Charles E. Stewart, president; Mrs. Frank Z. Miller, secretary; and Mrs. George K. Mather, treasurer.
“Some of the concrete accomplishments of the league included the placement of ‘No Spitting’ signs and public garbage cans on the streets, landscaping of school grounds, planting of flowers and trees, and swatting the fly.
“The Swat the Fly campaign sought to improve sanitation. Children were given ten cents for every hundred flies killed.
“The report for 1914 contained the figures of $159 paid and 1,500 movie tickets distributed in return for thirty-five twenty-pound candy buckets of flies. Grocers and butchers were encouraged to provide screens for their doors and windows and protective display cases for their meats.”
It all reminds me that it was Groucho Marx, who once said, “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”
When he is not swatting flies, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at kevindayhoff AT gmail.com or visit him at www.westminstermarylandonline.net.
20090628 sdosm KED SCE The trouble with flies
For other recent columns in Explore Carroll by Kevin Dayhoff:
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Westminster was all abuzz for the great fly roundup of 1914
Published June 28, 2009 by Carroll Eagle
... reminds me that it was Groucho Marx who once said, "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana." When he is not swatting flies, Kevin Dayhoff may be reached at … or visit him at www.westminstermarylandonline.net....
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20090705 sdosm Recent columns in Explore Carroll by Kevin Dayhoff
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